In this time of equal rights, equal opportunity, and I-can-do-everything-a-man-can-do, we have somehow lost some of the values and manners that come along with being ladies and gentlemen. I have observed young couples walking into restaurants; some of the young men hold the door open for their young ladies, others just barrel right through leaving her to handle the door herself. The door is not the issue, it’s the loss of chivalry and respect that I find a bit disconcerting.
One day it dawned on me that I might be guilty of contributing to this behavior as my son was nine years old and I was still holding the door open for him. Recently, we began his lessons in “How to be a Gentleman 101”. He was with me one day when we had several errands to run and I stopped at each door and waited for him to open it for me. Finally, after about the third door, he stood there with me at the door and said, “Why do I have to always hold the door?” and I answered, “Because you’re the dude.” His next argument was, “But I held the door last time,” to which I responded, “You get to hold the door every time, because you’re the dude.” Naturally, his response was rolling of his big blue eyes as he held the door for his mom. I made sure to respond with a “Thank you for being such a gentleman”. Young ladies, please take notes in the “How to be a Lady 101” class when they talk about the part where you acknowledge a young man’s act of respect by replying appropriately with a simple “Thank you”.
In waiting rooms, I see elderly ladies and gentlemen standing while young people occupy the available seats with few, if any, offering their chairs. I don’t think these young people are being intentionally rude, I just think they have not been taught that this is what respect is. And that is really the key to all of this. It’s not about equal rights or equal opportunity, it’s about respect. Respect can make relationships stronger, build bridges between generations, and help us to see a kinder gentler world. And it all starts with simple things like opening doors!